Aqaba factory that recorded over 1,500 COVID-19 cases says reputation damaged


Published: 2020-11-27 10:08

Last Updated: 2021-02-27 17:04

Aqaba factory that recorded over 1,500 COVID-19 cases says reputation damaged
Aqaba factory that recorded over 1,500 COVID-19 cases says reputation damaged

Aqaba clothing factory Sidney Apparels LLC, which recorded over 1,500 COVID-19 cases among factory workers earlier this month, spoke to Roya Thursday about the company's journey through COVID-19.

In March, the company said it converted one of its production lines to begin making masks, which it provided to the government and Aqaba residents masks free of charge.

The factory said, “Based on (...) social responsibility, Sidney [Apparels LLC] decided to immediately, after the start of the pandemic and the awareness of an existence of a shortage of protective masks in the Kingdom, divert one of the clothing manufacturing lines and allocating it to manufacture cloth masks to meet the needs of the local market.”

They indicated that manufacturing masks was not permanent and the company only specializes in manufacturing clothes. They halted mask production after the government was able to make them accessible nationwide within markets.

The company feels that their goodwill has been forgotten in recent weeks, however, when the company last week recorded over 1,500 coronavirus cases among employees.

According to Sidney Apparels LLC, the amount of cases does not speak to any lack of precautionary safety measures in the factory, saying that, since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, the company applied strict mechanisms to ensure a sterile workplace.

The company also affirmed its strong commitment to following defense orders and to apply the best global practices related to prevention and public safety of its workers, saying in a statement that it strives to provide a work environment that is the “best in the world.”

To contain existing cases, the company says expatriate workers now move between the factory and their accommodation using specially equipped buses. The buses are sterilized, protective masks are worn, and shifts have been amended so that 50 percent less people are working at any given time.

The company says they have also provided all daily living requirements in the factory and within worker accommodation so that workers do not have to go to markets which would include them mixing with others. These requirements include food, medicines, immune-boosting drinks, steam devices and other equipment to help workers recover quickly.

Additionally, epidemics investigation teams conduct regular checks at the factory and the residence facility, according to the company.

The health directorate confirmed that the company is operating according to the stipulated requirements.

Still, the company feels the outbreak has tainted its reputation.

“[This has] damaged the interest of the company and its reputation despite [our] immediate initiative and donation to help the Jordanian government and the Jordanian people,” they said.